Researchers from the University of Central Florida developed a technique to control the speed of light. They can now slow down or speed up a pulse of light and can make it travel backward. This achievement has encouraged researchers as they can now enable better efficiency in optical communication. Moreover, this technique might help prevent information loss and reduce data congestion.
Spatial Light Modulator Device Could Speed a Pulse of Light 30 Times
In this study, researchers developed a technique by using an innovative device known as a spatial light modulator. This device helped mix time and space properties of light, which allowed them to control velocity of the pulse of light. Mixing of two properties is the key to the technique’s success.
In the previous attempts to control the speed of light, researchers made light pass through different materials. However, this new technique altered the speed for the first time in open space. During alteration, they did not use any pass-through material to speed it up or slow down the light’s velocity.
The co-author of the study, Ayman Abouraddy who is a professor in UCF’s College of Optics and Photonics, said that this is the first attempt to control the speed of a pulse light in open space. Moreover, new applications have come to the forefront, of which an optical buffer is key. Now scientists have found a way to maintain the speed of light in a simple way, which is reliable and repeatable.
Abouraddy along with Esat Kondakci revealed they could speed a pulse of light by 30 times. They are capable of slowing down the speed of light by half and bend the pulse to travel backward.